An upcoming five-day festival is set to give theatre lovers a chance to experience Marathi theatre like never before. From August 5 to August 9, the Pratibimb Marathi Natya Utsav will stage eight plays, in genres ranging from comedy and tragedy to social satire.
“Marathi theatre is a rich and evolved art form. It is also witnessing an influx of fresh talent. People are writing new plays all the time. They are experimenting in terms of form and content. The festival will showcase whatever is happening in Marathi theatre at the moment. It will be a mix of commercial and experimental works,” says
Deepa Gahlot, head of programming (theatre and film), NCPA, Nariman Point. Gahlot says no other language has such a rich body of talent in terms of writing. “It (Marathi theatre) has some of the best writers. Here, people are interested in writing because they know that their work will be shared. You can’t be writing in a vacuum. Maharashtra also has a rich intercollegiate theatre culture. Young people are constantly being drawn in. They do commercial plays, and then move on to doing television and films,” she adds.
Some of the experimental acts that will be staged at the festival are based on the works of famous authors. Director Mandar Deshpande’s play, titled ‘Me, Pandurang Sangavikar’ is an adaptation of Padma Shri Dr Bhalchandra Nemade’s novels Kosla and Dekhani.
Another drama called ‘Tichya Aaichi Goshta, Arthat Mazya Athavanicha Phad (A Mother’s Memories Of Her Performance)’, written by Sushama Deshpande, is based on Yogesh Bahulkar’s book, Tamasha Vithabaicha Ayushyach, about a lavani dancer. Sindhu Sudhakar Rum Ani Itar is based on a 20th century Marathi classic, titled Ekach Pyala Interestingly, Khidki (Window), which won the Second Best Play at the Maharashtra State Government Theatre
Festival, among many other prestigious awards, is based on Italian Nobel laureate Dario Fo’s An Accidental Death Of An Anarchist. “During a police interrogation, a man commits suicide; but the question is, was it a murder or a suicide? I have added real events to the story to make the play morerelevant and relatable for the audience. The play has been adapted in many languages, and is a social satire,” says Vipul Mahagaonkar, the director of the play.
Sahitya Akademi Award winner Jayant Pawar’s story will also be part of thefestival. Theatre director Atul Pethe, who is participating in the festival for the third time, says, “I will be doing a dramatised reading of Tarkachya Khunteevaroon Nistalele Rahasya (The Mystery Stripped Of Logic). It is a performance, in which we use lights and music as we read the novella. This form of theatre is known as Abhivachan, which is a combination of abhinay (acting) and vachan (storytelling).”
Besides theatrical adaptations of popular books, a host of award-winning plays will also be staged at the festival. Don’t Worry Be Happy, written by Mihir Rajda and directed by Adwait Dadarkar, Ha Shekhar Khosla Kon Aaahe? (Who Is Shekhar Khosla?), directed by Vijay Kenkre, and Kalat Nakalat, written and directed by Anil Kakade, have received accolades at several theatre festivals. Kalat Nakalat (Known And Unknown), which revolves around the issue of mental health, has also been staged in Gujarati with the title Half Ticket. Later this year, it will be produced in Hindi and Sindhi. “I wrote my first play on eunuchs, followed by another play on a frustrated writer. My last play was on cross-dressers. This new play was inspired by a young boy, who lives in my neighbourhood, and is mentally challenged. I had been observing him for a while, and thinking of writing something on him. His mother and sister take care of him currently. But I have always wondered who will take care of him once they are gone, and hence, I wrote this play from the perspective of the boy,” says Kakade.
What’s in store:
August 5: Don’t Worry Be Happy, Experimental Theatre, 7pm
August 6: Tarkachya Khunteevaroon Nistalele Rahasya, Experimental Theatre, 12pm
Tichya Aaichi Goshta, Arthat Mazya Athavanincha Phad, Godrej Dance Theatre, 4pm
Me, Pandurang Sangavikar, Experimental Theatre, 4pm
August 7: Khidki, Godrej Dance Theatre, 4pm
Sindhu Sudhakar Rum Ani Itar, Experimental Theatre, 7pm
August 8: Kalat Nikalat, Experimental Theatre, 7pm
August 9: Ha Shekar Khosla Kon Aahe?, Experimental Theatre, 7pm